Studio Visit Overload

When you have the opportunity to sign up for a studio visit from the visiting artist, lecturer, gallery director, or whatever important person happens to be on campus that day, you take it.  It's usually a problem to get a time slot in to speak to them so when I know there is a visit opportunity coming around I keep my phone on hand so that as soon as the email goes out I can sign up for a time slot.

This week was full of people, to include Jason Sweet from Atlanta, Nancy Bookhart who is a friend of my Professors, and Leonie Bradbury a gallery director in Boston.  I feel like this past month has been so packed with studio visits they are starting to run together in my head.  Luckily I keep track of them in my notebook which helps me to look back on the things we discussed.  I received some very enlightening feedback from Jason Sweet, who happens to be the instructor to one of my friends from undergrad.  He told me that my work represented landscapes of a home environment and that the new direction I was taking in my most recent work reflected those same thoughts, except it added the emotion of anger and rage.  I think he only said that because I gauged out the eyeballs of a stuffed teddybear, but I did it so I could put them back in at a later point in time.  I know that sounds awful, but I couldn't run his entire body through the kiln, eyes intact.

Leonie Bradbury shared a number of her secrets about running a gallery, and how to create call for entries and sending out prospectus opportunities to artists.  Later in June I will be curating a show at Augusta University with my friend Jessamy, completely by ourselves.  So we wanted to do a little research in the mind of someones who's been doing it for years...which is basically all we talked to Leonie about.  She is a curator of contemporary art and currently works as the Director and Curator of the Galleries at Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, MA. She is also the co-founder of "Alter Projects" an independent curatorial collaborative that designs custom arts programming.  She came to visit us because she is in the same Ph.D. program as my Professor in Philosophy and Art Theory at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in Visual Art.

Also this week I will be completing my project from my third research symposium.  I made 240 test tiles with my undergraduate copartner and this week we will be glazing the tiles for our final project.  I have not seen any new art work outside of whats been happening in the Center for Art and Theater, the BFA Juried Art Show and the Form and Content show.  Which might I say were both amazing.  The awards ceremony which was held just this past Friday night was packed out with students, faculty, and family members.  I was awarded the Roxie Scholarship and acknowledged along with a number of other students!  The semester is winding down and things are getting tight on the calendar.  I have a lot to get done and only a little time to do it, so I'm headed back to the studio to work on pieces for the next critique, the ENOP Bird for Howard Lumber, two papers, and a revised artist statement.  Noting too crazy.....yet.

Process and Porcelain

It's one small step for some, but it's one giant leap for me!  I have transitioned to working in porcelain this week and can't wait to begin working in this new, strange material.  Over the week I have made eight different test tiles to run through both reduction and oxidation, in hopes to find the purest white of the whites...to the point where the clay has an almost blue hue to it.

Its been a pretty complicated process but I enjoy making the small 100 gram batches of liquid clay and then pouring them out on a plaster bat, to watch them dry almost instantaneously.  I've learned a lot over the week about what roles materials play in clay bodies, and how to manipulate them.  I won't go into the details about how I make the tests and what kind of notes I take from the results, but its all been very exciting!

I made my way down to SCAD Museum on Friday and saw some great fabric and bead work by Steven and William Ladd.  They have a show titled Blood Bound on display from February 16th- May 1st and it's a must see.  The reason I wanted to write about them this week was that they work in tandem, in collaboration with each other.  One brother is a master seamster and the other is a master bead maker.  They lived apart for a while doing their own work but then came back together and started to create elaborate beaded fabric works together.  Later this month I'll be working on a collaboration project with my friend Jessamy, and I believe it'll be a bit of a challenge at first to get used to making things together...especially when we'll be painting together on the ENOP Bird.  (Plus the way their signature was stuck up on the wall was very cool!)

More than anything though, I spent this last week working solely in the studio.  I really want to transition from working in stoneware to porcelain. [crazy right?]  I made a new burlap piece out of stone ware, and tried something new...but I'm not sure how I feel about it at the moment.  And I just took out my largest piece thus far, a Cone 4 Matte White box piece...which I'm in love with.  Guess I'll see what happens in the studio this next week when I make a large scale batch of this new, strange white material!

(Above are some images of the process in making the clays and glazes.)  

[This process secretly makes me both a mad scientist and an artist!]

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